2019 UN Climate Action Summit

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2019 UN Climate Action Summit
Date21–23 September 2019 (2019-09-21 – 2019-09-23)
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.
Organized byUnited Nations
ParticipantsUN member countries

The 2019 UN Climate Action Summit was held at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City on 23 September 2019.[1][2][3] The target of the summit was to advance climate action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the mean global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. Sixty countries were expected to "announce steps to reduce emissions and support populations most vulnerable to the climate crisis" including France, a number of other European countries, small island countries and India.[4] To increase pressure on political and economic actors for achieving the aims of the summit, a Global Climate Strike was held around the world on 20 September with over 4 million people in attendance.[5]

Results[edit]

The results of the summit were large and impressive though it is believed that they were not enough to limit the rise of global temperature to less than 1.5 degrees as needed to address the climate crisis. China did not increase its Paris agreement commitments, India did not pledge to reduce its use of coal, and the U.S. did not even speak at the conference.[6]. However, important commitments were made in many areas and the organizers declared that:

"Summit initiatives were designed to ensure the actions undertaken would be fair for all, supporting jobs and clear air for better health, and protect the most vulnerable, as well as new initiatives on adaptation, agriculture and early warning systems that will protect 500 million additional people against the impacts of climate change."[7].

In the official site of the summit was created a page called " Announcements" containing a number of press releases with relatively full information about the results of the summit[8]. Press releases with information about the issue were also published in September 2019, in the section "Press Materials"[9] The information is also stored in the UN portal of climate action "NAZCA"[10]

Governmental commitments[edit]

  • 65 countries and the European Union pledged to cut Greenhouse gas emission to zero by the year 2050[11]. The total numbers of countries, making this pledge reach 77[12]
  • Many small countries, including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries were among the states who made the biggest steps. The Small Island Developing States collectively decided to increase their climate targets by 2020, achieve 100% of energy from renewables sources by 2030 and reach zero carbon economy by 2050, if they will get help from international community.
  • France pledged to not enter into a trade deal with a country that have policies against the Paris Agreement.
  • The Global Campaign for Nature begun to function. The target of the campaign is protect 30% of the earth surface by the year 2030[13]
  • The Climate Ambition Alliance was created. The president of the alliance is the president of Chile - Sebastián Piñera. The Alliance want to unite the countries that want to increase their commitments by the year 2020. 59 countries said that they will do so.
  • The Powering Past Coal Alliance became much bigger: after the summit 30 countries, 22 states and regions, 31 corporation are members of the alliance that wants to stop building coal power plants by the year 2020 and make transition to renewable energy.
  • The organization "High Level Pannel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy" was created. It include countries covering a large part of the world costs, fishing zones. It wants to protect the oceans and create marine protected areas[14].
  • The European Union promised to give a quarter of his budget to climate action in the next year.
  • China announced, that it will go through "high quality growth and low-carbon development". China created a partnership with a target of removing 12 billion tons from the annual global Greenhouse gas emission by natural solutions.
  • India promised to bring her renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawhatts by the 2022 and to 450 gigawatts after.
  • 80 countries entered to the International Solar Alliance.
  • Russia pledged officially to ratify the Paris Agreement. This means that there are 187 countries who are members of the Agreement. The agreement was ratified by Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev. Russia is the fourth largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases. The targets for Russia in the agreement are reducing the emissions by 30% from the level of 1990 by the year 2030. The emissions of Russia in 2017 were already 32% lower than in 1990, so in fact the pledge does not increase them. But as Russia has a big and growing economy relied primarily on fossil fuels this will have some effects. Russian forests also play an effect on removing CO2 from the atmosphere.[15][16][17]
  • Pakistan promised to plant more than 10 billion trees in the years 2019 - 2024[18].
  • The coalition named: "Nature-Based Solutions Coalition " including more than 40 countries, 150 organizations, 50 private companies and 12 foundations, led by China and New Zealand made important commitments:

The Central African Forest Initiative pledged to save the forest in central Africa, the second largest tropical forest on Earth, preventing the release to the atmosphere of 70 gigatons of CO2, and protecting the livelihoods of 60 million people.

Pakistan pledged to restore big parts of its degraded ecosystems: 30% of forests, 5% of croplands, 6% of grasslands and 10% of wetlands, what will make it land degradation neutral by 2030.

El Salvador committed to protect 10 million hectares of forest and change the food sector, so that GHG emission from it will be 40% lower by 2030[19].

Local commitments[edit]

10 regions pledged reduce greenhouse gas emission to zero by the year 2050[20].

Cities commitments[edit]

  • 102 cities pledged reduce greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2050[21].
  • The initiative "Action toward a climate friendly transport (ACT)" was created. It wants to plan cities in a way that will minimize the need for transport, advancing non - motorized transport and decrease emmisions from the motorized[22]. Over 100 organization are members of this group including governments, cities and companies.[23]
  • The initiative "Zero Carbon Building For All" pledged that by the year 2030 all the new buildings will be "zero carbon". By the year 2050 all existing building will be so. Over 100 organization are members of this group including governments, cities and companies[24].

Private sector commitments[edit]

  • 87 companies and 15 investors pledged to reach zero carbon economy by the year 2050[25]
  • 130 banks e.g. one third of the global banking sector said that they will act for the achievement of the Paris Agreement goals[26].
  • Companies with a capital of 2.3 trillion dollars unified in an organization named "UN Global Compact" said that they will manage their businesses for achieve the climate targets.
  • An organization of investors " Asset Owner Alliance " with a capital of 2 trillion dollars said that by 2050 it will move to carbon free investments and begun to make sure the companies in which they invest are lowering their carbon footprint[27]

What was not achieved[edit]

The committments of the summit are not enough to limit the rise of global temperature to less than 1.5 degrees, as needed to address the climate crisis. António Guterres The Secretary General of the UN said in the closing of the summit: "Much more is needed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century."[28]. Andrew Steer the president of the World Resources Institute said that: "most of the major economies fell woefully short” about increasing their targets. Even those who promised to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, not always know how they will do it.[29]

Some points are especially troubling:

  • India did not pledge to reduce its use of coal.
  • The U.S. did not even speak at the conference.
  • The building of new coal plants was not limited by the year 2020 and this is "a looming threat to us all" according to The Secretary General of the UN[30]

Checking what will be done[edit]

All the announcements will be written in the Global Climate Action Portal called NAZCA. The portal will check the fullfiling of the pledges[31]

The Climate Home News published a non exhaustive list of the committments and said it will check the fulfillment[32]

Greta Thunberg attendance[edit]

In mid-August 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed from Plymouth to the United States to first participate in the UN Climate Action Summit, before heading to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Chile in December.[33] Speaking on 23 September, Thunberg opened her statement to the General Assembly with an impassioned and emotional commentary which was widely covered by the media.[34]

"This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"[35]

At her appearance, Thunberg announced that she and 15 other children

including Alexandria Villaseñor, Catarina Lorenzo, and Carl Smith were filing a lawsuit against five nations that are not on track to meet the emission reduction targets they committed to in their Paris Agreement pledges: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey. The lawsuit is challenging the nations under the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child (specifically the right to life, health, and peace). If the complaint is successful, the countries will be asked to respond, but any suggestions aren’t legally binding.[36][37]

Following her appearance, US President Donald Trump, who had attended the meeting for 10 minutes and then left, tweeted a video of her opening remarks in which she is obviously emotionally distressed and commented, "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UN Climate Action Summit 2019". United Nations. 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". United Nations. 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  3. ^ Farand, Chloé (2019-09-16). "What is the UN Climate Action Summit?". Climate Home News. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  4. ^ Rosane, Olivia (2019-09-23). "What to Expect From Today's UN Climate Action Summit". Ecowatch. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  5. ^ Barclay, Eliza; Resnick, Brian. "How big was the global climate strike? 4 million people, activists estimate". Vox. Archived from the original on 2019-09-21. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  6. ^ Rosane, Olivia (2019-09-24). "UN Climate Action Summit Falls 'Woefully Short' of Expectations". Ecowatch. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  7. ^ Rosane, Olivia (2019-09-24). "UN Climate Action Summit Falls 'Woefully Short' of Expectations". Ecowatch. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  8. ^ "Announcements". Climate Action Summit 2019. United Nations. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  9. ^ "Press Materials". Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  10. ^ "Climate Action Summit 2019". Global Climate Action NAZCA. United Nations. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  11. ^ "About the summit". Global Climate Action NAZCA. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  12. ^ KOSOLAPOVA, ELENA. "77 Countries, 100+ Cities Commit to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 at Climate Summit". SDG KNOWLEDGE HUB. IISD. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  13. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  14. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  15. ^ Sauer, Natalie (2019-09-23). "Russia formally joins Paris climate agreement". Climate Home News. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  16. ^ Luhn, Alec (2019-09-23). "Russia ratifies Paris climate accord - but targets are 'critically insufficient'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  17. ^ Teslova, Elena (2019-09-23). "Russia joins Paris agreement on climate change". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  18. ^ "Summit delivers major step up in national ambition and private sector action on pathway to key 2020 climate deadline" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. United Nations. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  19. ^ "Political and financial support for new efforts to scale up use of nature-based solutions to be announced at Climate Action Summit" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  20. ^ "About the summit". Global Climate Action NAZCA. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  21. ^ "About the summit". Global Climate Action NAZCA. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  22. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  23. ^ "Climate Action Summit yields plans to increase financing for green, livable cities, and to promote sustainable infrastructure, transport" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  24. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  25. ^ "About the summit". Global Climate Action NAZCA. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  26. ^ "Summit delivers major step up in national ambition and private sector action on pathway to key 2020 climate deadline" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  27. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  28. ^ "Secretary-General's remarks at closing of Climate Action Summit [as delivered]". United Nations Secretary-General. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  29. ^ Farand, Chloé (2019-09-24). "The UN asked for climate plans. Major economies failed to answer". Climate Home News. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  30. ^ Rosane, Olivia (2019-09-24). "UN Climate Action Summit Falls 'Woefully Short' of Expectations". Ecowatch. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  31. ^ "In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear" (PDF). Climate Action Summit 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  32. ^ Farand, Chloé; Sauer, Natalie (2019-10-02). "This is what the world promised at the UN climate action summit". Climate Home News. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  33. ^ Tidman, Zoe (2019-08-14). "Greta Thunberg sets sail from UK on two-week journey aboard high-tech yacht to reach climate summits". The Independent. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  34. ^ Thunberg, Greta (2019-09-23). "If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  35. ^ Thunberg, Greta (2019-09-23). "If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them | Greta Thunberg". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  36. ^ Kahn, Brian (2019-09-23). "It's Kids vs. the World in a Landmark New Climate Lawsuit". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  37. ^ "Greta Thunberg Leads Young People in Climate Complaint to UN". Bloomberg. 2019-09-23. Archived from the original on 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  38. ^ "'She seems very happy': Trump appears to mock Greta Thunberg's emotional speech". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-09-24.

External links[edit]

The UN climate action summit – as it happened